Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Boston Leg 12-13 September

color change in Grand Rapids - already!
Unlike our previous trips abroad to Europe where we flew out an international gateway -- typically Boston or New York -- direct to London or Paris, this year is different. Two factors were at work in forcing us to stretch our travel time to Paris: one was British Airways and the other simple geography.

In order to use our large number of BA air miles we had to fly out of one of a handful of international gateways. The other is, of course, that we now live in the midwest, a thousand miles from the nearest usable airport.

So, yesterday we flew from Grand Rapids to Boston by way of Newark. Leg One of our journey to France for 2016.

We were up before dawn to finish packing and getting the house ready. We loaded my mother-in-law's car and the three of us drove to the airport.

It was a gorgeous day for travel. About 70 degrees F when we drove to the airport in Grand Rapids where we found ourselves in line -- by ourselves!

All quiet on the B Concourse
We checked in, dropped our one bag off to security-- the TSA handler turned out to be a young woman we knew from another business in Grand Rapids -- and made our way through security. Even though we had TSA Precheck (creatively called "TSA Pre") there were only four of us in the security line so there was no wait there either.

Once through security we relaxed at the gate until our plane pulled in, offloaded it's cargo of passengers, and loaded up a new group -- ours.

One hour thirty minutes later were were gliding down to Newark, giving us superb views of the Manhattan skyline. Once on the ground we made our way from Terminal C, the tiny plane terminal, to Terminal A the BIG plane terminal - hey, that's how our flight attendant described them.

Since we had a bit of a layover and it was lunchtime we grabbed a bite to eat. Most of the eateries in Terminal C, at least down the C112 corridor, were fixed with iPads at each dining station for ordering (and more); and there were plenty of tables with stuffed chairs also loaded with iPads and charging stations mixed in with gate seating.

Anyway, we found a spot at the Vanguard Kitchen. We ordered right off the iPad, swiped our card on the device fixed to the table top, which initiated the food preparation. Fifteen minutes later we had our food and it was pretty tasty, I must admit, although quite pricey. During the meal we simply turned the iPads face down on the table although we noticed lots of folks were using them to check email, surf the web, play games, etc., while eating. That didn't appeal to us -- we believe connectivity goes just so far. . .  One thing we thought interesting: you could pay with a credit card or United air miles.

We boarded our Boston leg flight at a little after 2pm (1400) and after a quick 39-minute flight ending in a spectacular glide down over Boston Harbor, landed at Logan Airport. It was just about a 15-minute wait to get our checkin bag, and another 10-minute wait for the Logan Express bus to Framingham where Susie's brother Dick would pick us up.

And so it all worked as planned. Or hoped. Anyway, the travel weather was perfect, and flights on time (actually both arrived at their destinations a bit early). While commuter traffic getting through and out of Boston was lousy we were on the bus and really quite unconcerned. Fifty minutes later we pulled into the Logan Express terminal at Framingham near Shopper's World Mall where Dick loaded us up and the three of us were soon cruising down I-90 to Route 146 south and Douglas, Massachusetts.

We sat outside in their garden, sipping sparkling wine and enjoying the last light of the evening. Dorothy had a tasty meal ready for us. After an evening of good wine and even better food we headed upstairs to bed.

After a good night's sleep we felt refreshed and ready for another long day of travel. The upside to all this is we don't feel rushed or harried; we just take our time. Time is what we have plenty of, right now anyway.

Our British Airways flight out of Boston doesn't leave until nearly 10pm (2200) this evening so . . . . .  our plan will be to hang out in Douglas and then Dorothy will drop us off at the Framingham shuttle about 4pm (1600). One tiny curious glitch so far has been that we are unable to checkin online -- the message from BA when I try to do so simply says "Proceed to the airport to pickup your boarding passes." Hmmmm. That sounds a tad ominous.

Whatever may come of that small mystery, since we used our air miles to upgrade to Business class we'll at least be able to spend time relaxing in the BA lounge with wine and food before boarding the plane for our red-eye to London. More about that in the next post!

No comments: